Find­ing a recipe for suc­cess

New chef, new restau­rant set for grand re-open­ing

Stanthorpe Border Post - - NEWS | BETTER BUSINESS - Matthew Pur­cell Matthew.Pur­cell@bor­der­

THE beau­ti­ful chalet is nes­tled into bush­land.

It’s a strik­ing build­ing with a restau­rant which has been dor­mant for a pe­riod – un­til now.

Gir­raween Inn has a new lease on life and is set to open The Spot­ted Quoll restau­rant in nine days.

A chef with ex­pe­ri­ence and an owner with a vi­sion – be­tween Aaron Clews and Apolo­nia Be­han, the pair feel they’ve got a recipe for suc­cess.

“I have been a chef for the past six years,” The Spot­ted Quoll head chef Aaron Clews said. “I have a back­ground in butch­ery and a very strong pas­sion for lo­cal and for­aged in­gre­di­ents.

“I com­pleted my ap­pren­tice­ship in New­cas­tle and worked at sev­eral fine din­ing restau­rants dur­ing that time.

“I’m from a small town on the mid-north coast called Macksville.

“I moved to Stan­thorpe in May last year af­ter hav­ing a short hol­i­day here to visit some fam­ily.

“I de­cided I wanted to make the move per­ma­nent and con­tinue my ca­reer on the Gran­ite Belt.

“There are so many peo­ple on the Gran­ite Belt that have such a pas­sion for food,” he said. “We’ve got chefs, bak­ers, butch­ers, cheese-mak­ers, wine­mak­ers, farm­ers and grow­ers of a ton of beau­ti­ful pro­duce.

“That’s why I chose to come here and I in­tend to be here for sev­eral years.

“We will be kick­ing off here at the Gir­raween Inn on Satur­day, Fe­bru­ary 24 and be open for din­ner Tues­day through to Satur­days.

“I want to change the menu sea­son­ally and, where and when pos­si­ble, to work with pro­duc­ers and mother na­ture.

“The main thing for me is to use as much lo­cal pro­duce as pos­si­ble and cook within the re­gion,” Aaron said.

For Inn owner Apolo­nia, it’s about con­tin­u­ing a dream that started decades ago.

“I lived through the Se­cond World War (in the Nether­lands),” Mrs Be­han said.

“... in a nut­shell, I nearly starved to death.

“My par­ents then mi­grated to Aus­tralia.

“My fa­ther was sought, he was a chef – a Euro­pean, French trained chef so he came out here and worked.

“Be­cause I ex­pe­ri­enced hunger, I saw that you don’t stay in the city... but in the coun­try it was dif­fer­ent.

“It was al­ways in my head that in the end of my life that I’m go­ing to live in the coun­try.

“So my hus­band went out just walk­ing one day with the two chil­dren and he came back and said ‘I think I saw a piece of prop­erty that you’d like’.

“I came here on the day, saw it, liked it and pur­chased it within an hour. This was about 28 years ago.

“It was go­ing to be a house but my hus­band said, ‘you come from a back­ground with your fa­ther be­ing a chef, you can cook, why don’t we build an inn’. “That’s how it came to be.” They closed their pre­vi­ous restau­rant and, fol­low­ing a hia­tus, are now back in busi­ness.

“We re­ally needed staff that be­lieved in them­selves, could see a long term here,” Apolo­nia said.

“Now we’ve got Aaron, and his lovely part­ner

Shelly, and here we are.”


TAK­ING CHARGE: New head chef at Gir­raween Inn's The Spot­ted Quoll restau­rant Aaron Clews.

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